The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee Review
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Every kid has hopes and dreams—not just the kids from big cities or rich families. And in The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee by author Deborah Abela, one lovable little girl from a tiny town that no one’s ever heard of gets some encouragement from her eccentric family to make her own dreams come true.

The story follows India Wimple as she sets out on an unbelievable spelling bee adventure. India and her family have always loved gathering around the TV on Friday nights to watch The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee together—and India can spell every word. But when her family suggests that she should enter the competition, she fears that she’s not good enough—nor brave enough—to compete. After the entire town comes out to encourage her, though, she agrees to sign up. And though a voice in her head tells her she’s still not good enough, she faces the challenges with her family and new friends by her side.

In many ways, The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee feels like an Australian Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. India is a shy, timid little girl who’s kind and thoughtful, who cares for her little brother, Boo, whose health issues keep him home from school. She’s so shy, in fact, that she doesn’t seem to have any friends her own age. What she does have is her eccentric family: her enthusiastic little brother, her compassionate mom, her outspoken Nanna Flo, and her dynamic dad, whose wardrobe is sometimes even louder and livelier than he is.

This lovable small-town clan is completely out of their element in this competition. Times have been tough for the Wimples, and they struggle to cover the expenses for each round of competition. But they soon discover that they’re not in it alone—that their friends and neighbors will support them and cheer them on. Meanwhile, as the Wimples experience new things—like their first-ever hotel stay or a bus tour of Sydney—India goes up against kids who have more money and nicer clothes than she does. But, through it all, India learns so much more than how to spell words like “phenomenal” or “transcendent.” She learns valuable lessons about what’s really important.

The lovable characters and their unlikely adventures make The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee a book that parents will enjoy right along with their young readers. Though the ups and downs and surprises of the story aren’t really all that surprising (at least not for grown-ups), it’s a truly heartwarming tale about family and friendship and kindness.

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